Their ‘disability ‘ may not be visible but the heart rending struggle every moment of their lives exists. What the society doesn’t see, it doesn’t recognize. A learning disability or inability to achieve the ‘standard’ academic levels overshadows all other abilities. There are others who have Intellectual Disabilities with associated physical trauma. Sports has offered a broad platform to them to bring out their forte in one or the other discipline re-shaping their personalities and transforming their lives. The Special Olympics Athletes have made India proud by winning over 1000 Medals at the world games platform in their regular participation since 1987 , every two years in alternating Special olympics World Winter and World summer Games
We celebrate today, The International Day for Persons with Disabilities in the name of all our Champions
Being unfair to document only 5, but this is just the beginning ..
Deepak- SO Bharat Haryana
Belonging to a family with limited means and located in the rural interiors of the state of Haryana, Deepak’s mother faced much trouble and strain when confronted with a diagnosis that confirmed Deepak as child with Special needs. His delayed milestones, lack of speech by the time he was 2 made few of his family and the community members suggest to have him killed or have him exorcised. The accusation from the pople around was that he was possesed by a spirit. The heartbreaking challenges also brought a mysterious strength to his mother to confront and prove them wrong. Deepak joined Tenderhearts, a special school in Faridabad and joined Special olympics through it. Deepak worked his way through to the Special Olympics World Summer games held at LA, 2015. He won a Silver Medal in handball.
His victory which brought him immense excitement went on to do much more for his family. The Cash award that followed covered expenses of his father’s critical ailment which was diagnosed soon after, and from which he is still convalescing. Through his various sporting experiences Deepak has won 27 medals which are displayed prominently in his house.
Rakesh Kumar- SO Bharat Jammu & Kashmir
The myth that associates special disability with bad luck is still prevalent in Indian society and many families have fallen into its trap. Rakesh Kumar, born with Down Syndrome, initially faced ignorance from the fellow members of his society. Amidst intermittent shooting, shelling and bombing, barely half a kilometre from the Indo- Pak border, an area that reels under administrative apathy, transforming lives of persons with Intellectual disabilities is not priority.
Rakesh, as a child, was often seen wandering around in lanes and by-lanes , unclothed, completely ignored by passers-by. Living in an area embedded in militancy together with difficulties to manage a child with disabilities, his parents were disheartened and also traumatized in the initial years. Things changed when he proved his worth by becoming the first Athlete of the frontier region belonging to the Village Kotil Mirdian, Tehsil RS Pura, District Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir at the age of 14 yrs. Rakesh is 22 years old now and has visited many places across the country, participating in various competitions organized by Special Olympics. He has started interacting with his village folks. People fondly call him Major as he greets everyone with a salute. In any event, he is part of the Hospitality team that welcomes the Chief Guest.
Tiaba Tzudir – SO Bharat Nagaland
“Blessed are we to have Tiaba in our school”, says Elizabeth Dozo, Principal, Great Commission Kids Academy School (a Mainstream School) Dimapur. Tiaba Tzudir is 21 years of age and is a student of class 3. Last year Tiaba became the first student with Special Needs to be part of the school. Since 2009, when he joined SO Bharat Tiaba has been continuously participating in State and National level camps in Athletics and Badminton. He did his state proud as he was first in the history of Nagaland to receive Best Role Model in Mental Retardation category at the National Awards 2015 for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. After having successfully included Tiaba in their school system another child with Special Needs was granted admission this year in Class 11. Tiaba is a torch bearer in the truest sense, having literally run with the torch at two separate Special Olympics events and now spreading awareness and recognition of persons with Intellectual disabilities is nothing less of initiating transformation
Daksh Joshi -SO Bharat-Uttrakhand
Beginning to sit at the age of one and to walk at two and a half along with fear for cycles, is what early childhood was for Daksh Joshi. But he never realized that his delayed milestones would fade away, the day his father held his feet in his hands and placed them on the peddle. His mother being a teacher made a tough decision of not sending him for normal schooling despite attempting it once. His physique would stir fear in other students of Pre-nursery, as he would be older than all. She was advised not to continue for the benefit of her son. The nearest Special School fell short of convincing his parents as beneficial to him.As a result, they were left with little choice other than having him groomed and educated at home.
As a result of his parent’s unrelenting commitment to Daksh, he showed inclination towards cycling. His father, once again, accessed online information to nurture his flair, monitoring his progress and taking him to the nearest Stadium. He joined Special Olympics Bharat about 3 years back. His talent was nurtured, his grip on the handle strengthened and his feet began to push the peddle.Daksh was on the roll. Daksh Joshi won a Silver and a Bronze in Cycling at the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2015, LA,USA.
Varun Chand – SO Bharat Telangana
Varun Chand, 25yrs, Athlete of SO Bharat Telangana probably, does not understand his own strength that led him to a victory of three Gold medals one each in 50 Mtrs, 100 Mtrs and 200 Mtrs freestyle at the Indo Sri Lankan Master Swimmer’s Meet held from 3-6 March 2016 at Colombo, Sri Lanka. He won the medals in his category of 25-29 years. The event entailed participation of 220 Master Swimmers between ages 25 and 59 yrs from India and Sri Lanka. 20 Swimmers represented India, with Varun being the only participant with Special needs. Apart from a participant with Visual Impairment and Varun, rest all were mainstream Master Swimmers. A regular swimmer at the Gachibowli Sports Complex, Telangana, Varun Chand qualified selection for the event, his first to rival the mainstream segment. Varun took to swimming at the age of four as therapy against Mild Autism and Moderate Mental Retardation. Varun joined SO Bharat- Andhra Pradesh in 2009 keeping his focus on swimming
On December 3rd, the United Nations joins people around the world to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Since 1992, the Day has been celebrated to promote the increased awareness and support related to the full social inclusion of people with disabilities worldwide. The Day serves as an opportunity for development, government, corporate and civil society stakeholders alike to highlight the needs of individuals with disabilities and draw attention to the core benefits of creating fully inclusive strategies, policies and communities. The United Nation’s theme for 2016 is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want”. This theme notes the recent adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of these goals in building a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities.